Competition ratchets up exponentially for Loyola on Friday
Loyola renewed an old rivalry against San Diego St. Augustine in 2014 in the first varsity football game played on campus since 1949. The Cubs prevailed in a barn burner, 42-35. This Friday a big, physical Saints squad will travel to 1901 Venice Boulevard for the twelfth meeting between the two Catholic schools that first competed on the gridiron in 1928.
A LOOK AT ST. AUGUSTINE
Longtime Saints coach Richard Sanchez, who built St. Augustine into one of the preeminent prep football programs in the CIF San Diego Section (two CIF titles and three runner-up finishes) moved on to coach the defensive backs at San Diego State. A familiar face has taken over the program, and all indications are that seven-year Saints assistant Joe Kremer is the right man for the job.
Kremer inherited fourteen starters, seven on offense and seven on defense, from last fall’s Western League title team. Adding to that core group of experienced players is newcomer Walter Pongia (6-3, 319), a massive two-way senior offensive tackle/nose guard. Other prime time players are junior tight end/defensive end Michael Ambagtsheer (6-4, 240) and blazing fast junior wide receiver/defensive back Tyson McWilliams (6-2, 170).
In its season opening, 35-0, victory over Bonita Vista on August 17, St. Augustine successfully ran the off tackle power play over and over behind a massive, powerful offensive line which averages 291 pounds from tackle to tackle. Among the big boys up front are senior Shayne Waldaphel (6-6, 285) and sophomore guard Tangia Pangia (6-1, 329). The Saints’ offense is not one dimensional. though, as junior quarterback Angelo Peraza (5-9, 160) is an athletic speedster who completed 67 per cent of his passes last season.
A stout defense is led by powerful sophomore nose guard Christian Gaeta (6-1, 270), aggressive senior linebacker Will Simon (6-0, 184), junior safety Travis Hall (6-1, 190), Ambagtsheer and McWilliams.
One of the reasons for optimism this season in the North Park neighborhood that St. Augustine calls home is that the members of undefeated 10-0 2017 JV squad have joined the varsity ranks.
The Saints have the advantage of having played two games (with run- dominant wins over Bonita Vista (35-0) and Santa Fe Christian (46-0)) coming into tonight’s contest But Loyola has the home field advantage. The contest stacks up as a heavy weight bout. The Cubs will have to figure out a way to slow down St. Augustine’s power running game, and will need balance on offense. Loyola may have the advantage in the kicking game.
The Cubs and Saints renewed a rivalry in 2014 that began 90 years ago. Loyola won the 2014 contest, 42-35, in the first home game played on campus since 1949. In 2015 the Cubs trekked to San Diego Mesa College where Loyola held on for a 23-20 victory after the Saints scored three times late in the final quarter. St. Augustine got the best of the Cubs at Loyola in 2016, pulling out a 17-14 victory. Last fall at Morse College in San Diego the Cubs ran roughshod over the Saints, 41-0.
Loyola and St. Augustine first played in 1928, with the Saints recording a 25-0 shutout of coach Larry Devlin’s Cubs. The 1928 Loyola team’s lone loss was to St. Augustine. The Cubs overall record in ‘28 was 7-1-2. In all but one of the ensuing ten contests Loyola defeated its Augustinian rival, which is located near Balboa Park in San Diego. Entering tonight’s contest, the Jesuit school in Los Angeles holds the bragging rights with a 9-2 series lead.
In 1945, head coach Bill Sargent’s Cubs shut out the Saints 26-0. The ‘45 Loyola team finished the campaign with a 7-1-1 record, which included an impressive 27-13 victory over state power Bakersfield. St. Augustine forfeited the 1946 game for reasons unknown. Bill Sargent’s ’46 Loyola squad, led by CIF Large Schools Player-of-the-Year Al Pollard, dubbed by the Los Angeles sporting press as the Loyola Express, completed the season with a 10-1 record and made it to the school’s first CIF Large Schools championship game, before bowing, 7-6, to Alhambra. It was Sargent’s last year as Loyola’s head coach. His four-year record was an impressive 25-5-2 (81%). In 1947, first-year head coach Jack Bouchard’s Loyola squad downed St. Augustine 27-6 in game four. In his second year at the helm of Cub Football in 1948, coach Bouchard guided his Cub team to a 27-18 win over the Saints. Loyola finished the ’48 campaign with an 8-1 record. The Cubs won the 1949 contest 35-0, and in 1950 Loyola’s CIF Large Schools semifinalist club de-canonized the Saints, 25-13, in the fifth contest of the season. Bouchard’s overall record in his six years as the Cub head man was 39-13-2 (74%).
There is a significant connection between Loyola and St. Augustine. St. Augustine’s president, Ed Hearn, was a well-respected and beloved football coach, teacher and administrator at Loyola from 1971 through 1991, before he moved on to take over the job as principal at Garces Memorial High School in Bakersfield and later at Brophy College Preparatory, a Jesuit secondary school in Phoenix. Coach Hearn made an indelible mark on Cub Football. Among many of his contributions, he established the Loyola Samurai weightlifting program in 1981.
Cub grad Nico Evans '14 has career night in first start for Wyoming
NICO EVANS '14 was a star running back at Loyola. In 2013 he earned All-CIF Pac-5 honors and also was named the Most Valuable Offensive Back in the Serra League after rushing for 1,686 yards and 20 touchdowns. Evans, who is one of the best to ever play the position for the Cubs, accepted a scholarship to the University of Wyoming.
For whatever reason, Evans never got the opportunity to start for the Cowboys until last Saturday. His hard work and dedication paid off in a big way as the redshirt senior romped for 204 yards in 25 carries and scored two touchdowns in Wyoming's 29-7 season opening win over New Mexico State in Las Cruces. Evans broke numerous tackles throughout the game. Do not be surprised if he earns a chance to make it in the NFL if his combination of speed and power as displayed Saturday continues throughout the fall.
Evans's teammate at Loyola, safety ADAM PILAPIL '14, also matriculated to Wyoming. Pilapil started out as a safety for the 'Pokes but switched to outside linebacker in 2017. He saw exetensive playing time in Saturday's victory.
There are 37 former Cubs competing in collegiate football this year.
Loyola pregame festivities Friday
Before Friday night's home game Loyola parents, alumni and supporters will gather at 5:00 p.m. at Las 7 Regiones De Oaxaca, which is located at the southwest corner of Dewey Avenue and Pico Boulevard (2648 Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90006), just north of the Dewey parking lot.
Competition ratchets up exponentially for Loyola on Friday